I've been doing a lot of reading on political sites trying to get a grasp of how the republican party plans to go forward after this election. I have come across a lot of interesting articles. This one in particular, contains some things that I have seen first hand. The question is, will the republican party powers that be actually take this scrutiny seriously and move to make some changes in their delivery of their message.
Keep in mind that personally, I do not want, wish or think that the republican party should change their ideology in any way. The suggestion that I make is to look at how they deliver that ideology to the masses. There's nothing wrong with the ideology but the delivery and the way it is delivered has definitely got to change. This election has shown that in force. And now, the article.
If the GOP wants to win next time, its leaders need to wrest power from the Tea Party fringe and embrace the changes in the US.
They truly expected Mitt would win. Not just the right-wing talk-show hosts and the dedicated Republican pundits living in their parallel universe, but the top campaign brass, even the candidate himself, who had prepared only a victory speech. That incidentally may explain the brevity and grace of Romney's concession in Boston on Tuesday night. In the event, nothing became him in defeat so much as the way he took it.
And it wasn't just a defeat, it was a big one, whose dimensions were a surprise even to many Democrats: over 2 per cent in the popular vote and a crushing 332 votes to 206 in the electoral college, in what is supposed to be a 50/50 country. And this in a year when the struggling economy was the main issue, and Republicans were fielding a candidate whose selling point was his economic and business expertise. What went wrong?
The initial reaction, as with a patient who is told their illness is terminal, was denial. Nothing was wrong, some of the true believers said at first; after all the party had kept control of the House of Representatives. The problem had been the dastardly negative tactics of the opposition ("Obama succeeded by suppressing the vote," blathered Karl Rove, one-time campaign guru of George W Bush). Others blamed the electorate: "We don't need to change to appeal to voters," insisted the conservative talk-show host Laura Ingraham. "We need voters and their mindsets to change."
But this weekend, cold reality is sinking in. One sign is the fact that almost no one is blaming Romney himself for the defeat, or evoking other, better candidates who might have won. Normally the knives would already be out, and until the very last weeks, Romney indeed waged a poor campaign, passive and gaffe-prone. But if anyone is being made scapegoat, it is New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie, guilty of actually praising President Barack Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy. But the problems run far deeper than one or two individuals, or a storm that arrived at the worst possible moment.
The Republicans lost because America has changed, and the extreme conservatism they currently expound has indeed lost its appeal. As everyone points out, correctly, it is a matter of demographics. The archetypal Republican voter is older, white, male and non-urban, at a time when the country is more diversified and urban than ever, and when the votes of women and Hispanics – two constituencies whom the party this time seemed to go out of its way to alienate – have become crucial.
Why has Virginia, until recently a Republican banker, twice voted for Obama? Because of the younger professionals and minority voters who have flocked to the booming Washington DC suburbs, outnumbering traditional Republicans in the state's less populated heartland.
Amazingly, President Obama even carried the Cuban-American vote in Florida. Steve Schmidt, a top adviser for John McCain in 2008, put it neatly: "In 1988, 60 per cent of the white vote won George H W Bush a landslide. Now that only buys a sizable defeat." In short, Republicans have to remake themselves. But their sickness is not terminal.
Yes, the challenge is at one level daunting. But it is also pretty straightforward. What Republicans must do has been done by other parties, both in America and elsewhere – and relatively quickly. Not long ago, the Democrats drifted left, forfeiting the center, and as a result lost three straight elections in the 1980s. But Bill Clinton hauled them back to relevance, and the party has won the popular vote in five of the six elections since 1992. In Britain, Messrs Blair, Brown and Mandelson did much the same with New Labour.
Not only are some specific remedies obvious (a more accommodating immigration policy to woo Hispanics, less of the wild talk on abortion that so repels women). No less obvious, the party must regain the center. Not by coincidence did the late surge that convinced the faithful of a Romney victory come precisely when the candidate started to sound more moderate.
Best of all, Republicans have a strong line-up of potential leaders to implement such changes. Mitt Romney was a transitional figure, an unconvincing bridge between unlamented George W Bush and this new generation – Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal and Christie the turncoat to name but four. By common consent, they are more impressive than anything in the Democratic locker (Hillary Clinton, of course, could change things.)
The real issue is not identifying what needs to be done. It is whether it can be done, given the way a nominee is chosen. Think back to the Republican primaries. Why was the field so weak for an eminently winnable election, given the state of the economy? Simply because many of the party's more credible figures refused to put themselves through a process where they would be forced to appease the social and fiscal arch-conservatives, who dominate the primary electorate and the kingmakers on the talk-show circuit.
Romney chose to jump through the hoops. He proclaimed himself a "severe conservative". His hand shot up in assent when asked if he would reject a deficit-reduction package that contained one dollar in tax increases for every 10 in spending cuts. He came out in favor of "self-deportation" for illegal immigrants. In doing so, he destroyed himself. Not so long ago, a Republican nominee could talk conservative in the primaries, then tack back to the middle ground for the general election. Now it's just too much of a stretch.
Making things even harder is the blurring of lines between show business and politics. A lucrative talk-show gig is considered the norm for a between-elections candidate (see Sarah Palin). A buffoon like Donald Trump was briefly a frontrunner for the nomination. In fact, the above served primarily as Barack Obama's not-so-secret re-election weapons. "They've got to be shut down by leaders in the party," says Schmidt. "Conservatives have a serious government philosophy. They shouldn't be driven by talk-radio and reality-show hosts who say outrageous things and hang around with candidates." Alas, one suspects, that's easier said than done.
That was just one article that I read on this subject, but there were plenty more. Here's another.
Ann Romney said one thing during her husband’s presidential run that no one can dispute. “This is hard,” she said, referring to the slog. (Actually, being president is hard, too, as George W. Bush once noted 11 times in a single debate.)
Here’s one campaign call, though, that should never have been a head-scratcher: Running on white resentment is not a winning strategy, and the next Republican who tries it will lose, too.
Lyndon B. Johnson knew when he pushed through civil rights legislation that the Jim Crow South he’d grown up in would reject the Democratic Party for decades to come as a result. But somewhere, Johnson is smiling today, because the GOP’s Southern strategy to capitalize on racial animus has now worked so completely that it has turned back to bite Republicans, with Mitt Romney overwhelmingly losing the growing share of America’s minority voters. President Barack Obama won 93 percent of the African American vote and 71 percent among Hispanics.
Turns out, not even competing for them was a mistake. And here’s how to blow more than a billion dollars and wind up right back where you started: Carefully alienate Latinos with talk of “self-deportation” and promises to veto the Dream Act. Vow that, if elected, you will cancel a widely celebrated reprieve from deportation for some young immigrants. Oh - and this is important - call those in this country without papers “illegals” every chance you get. Then, just sit back and hope that no one who finds that insulting turns out to vote.
Keeping African Americans out of the tent should be a snap at this point, but Romney certainly took nothing for granted in that regard. To review: He joked about Obama’s birth certificate and pitched to the angry-white-guy vote with a wildly inaccurate ad about how the president had supposedly “gutted” welfare work requirements. (In fact, not a single waiver has been granted, although the Obama administration did invite applications for waivers.)
Romney surrogate John Sununu stated his startling belief that Colin Powell’s endorsement of the president was a case of ring-knocking within the black brotherhood. And while behind closed doors, the candidate himself told donors he’d written off nearly half of America from the start - and had assumed that those who did not support him weren’t interested in his jobs plan because they don’t want to work.
In the final hours of the campaign, Romney either developed never-before-seen acting skills or truly believed he was on the glide path to victory; inside the Fox News bubble, no other outcome seemed possible.
But far more important than any of this, as we look to the future, is that since Romney’s loss, we’ve continued to hear conservatives who do know they are on camera or writing for publications carry right on cementing the impression that they think Obama won only because he was the choice of Moocher Nation: Not only had they failed to “take back America” from the guy Newt Gingrich delighted in calling “the food-stamp president,” but non-white America, they inferred, is not really America at all.
All of which explains how, in a tepid economy, Romney managed to lose the election more than Obama won it. And yet, they’re still at it, with Ole Miss students contributing some standout visuals to the narrative that the GOP is not minority-friendly.
George Allen, meanwhile, blamed his senatorial campaign loss to Tim Kaine on the anti-business bias of his fellow Virginians: “It would be nice if we had an electorate that supported entrepreneurs.” In Obama’s reelection, conservative radio host Mark Levin literally saw the end of civilization: “We will not negotiate the terms of our economic and political servitude. Period. We will not abandon our child to a dark and bleak future. We will not accept a fate that is alien to the legacy we inherited.” And in National Review Online, Ed Whelan wrote that “the great American experiment in constitutional republicanism is in grave peril, if not doomed,” because somehow, the greatest country on Earth has been overrun with layabouts: “As the Framers understood, self-government depends on a virtuous citizenry. Instead, we have a growing mass of citizens seemingly wedded to dependency on big-government spending.”
This must have been a moment brand-new Republican Artur Davis knew would come when he spoke at this summer’s Republican National Convention, where 98 percent of the delegates were white. “The Republican conservative base seems perilously close to shrinking to white southern evangelicals, senior white males, and upper-income Protestants,” Davis wrote on Thursday.
His new fellows would do well to take some cues from him and other minority voices on how to address that problem. But first, they’d have to stop hurling pejoratives at the Americans they so mistakenly see as “takers.”
Obviously, I am not the only one who sees this. A lot of other folks see this too.